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Cannabidiol or CBD products have become increasingly popular among patients who seek relief from pain, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and other chronic conditions.
(Consumer Reports, 2019)
A recent survey suggests that approximately 64 million Americans have used CBD products in the past 2 years. Out of this group, 22% reported that CBD helped them supplement or substitute prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
Are CBD products safe and effective to use?
What’s the science? And what’s the latest research?
What is the difference between CBD and marijuana?
The cannabis Sativa plant that gets you high some of us may remember for university days as marijuana.
Hemp is the same cannabis Sativa plant bred differently which makes it the preferred source of CBD.
The main difference between these plants is that hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (0.3%). As a result, it will NOT get you high.
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These are the same Plant species but two different compound potency balance.
Hemp = non-intoxicating (No High)
Marijuana = intoxication (High as Mount Rushmore)
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In this article, we are looking at CBD derived from the hemp cannabis Sativa plant, which contains the legal amount of THC.
Is Hemp the same thing as cannabidiol?
Hemp is the best source of cannabidiol because it contains the highest cannabidiol concentration out of the two cannabis plants.
To date, scientists have discovered only two active compounds in the cannabis plants known as THC and CBD.
However, cannabis contains a number of other compounds chemically similar to cannabidiol that makes up the overall cannabis plant structure.
Furthermore, medical science believes that most of the cool stuff that happens when taking full-spectrum CBD oil extract is because of these other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Why are we finding CBD everywhere?
The recent popularity of CBD starts with marijuana cannabis. Since ancient times, humans have been using marijuana to treat anything from nausea, pain to anxiety.
According to the world Drug Servey, marijuana is the most popular drug on earth.
There is a lot of interest in cannabidiol (CBD) now because people still want the cannabis plant’s health benefits but without feeling intoxicated.
Since hemp cultivation became legal in the U.S. in 2018, there has been a huge push to reveal all the medical potential of this mysterious plant.
How long before CBD get approved by the FDA
Currently, CBD extract is classified as a food supplement that does not require approval from the FDA.
That being said, CBD can not be classified as a food supplement anymore because of the recent approval of the drug Epidiolex which is made from purified cannabidiol extract.
Epidiolex is used to treat two rare seizure conditions Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS).
These two rare children’s conditions are extremely difficult to manage and don’t have many treatment options.
Since 2018 purified cannabidiol is officially a drug which makes the regulatory environment very difficult because technically drugs can not also be a food supplement.
Even though the 2018 farm bill has declared hemp crop no longer a schedule five drug, it has not been fully embraced at the federal level.
In between all the excitement, the FDA is saying that we should pump the breaks with CBD consumption because of the strong phycological and physical influence CBD may have on our bodies.
If a substance is strong enough the cure you, it is strong enough to harm you.
In addition, because of strong clinical trial evidence, the FDA advises that CBD has shown great medical promise but is not for everyone because of potentially dangerous side effects.
The biggest cause of concern is that CBD interacts with particular drugs that can have disastrous outcomes.
Another concerning factor is that CBD extract can irritate the liver but can be successfully managed with proper medical supervision.
CBD is not a wonder drug that will cure all humanity’s health issues, but it is a powerful herbal alternative that is an effective remedy for some people.
A study suggests that out of everyone in the U.S. that tried CBD as a heath treatment, 30% reported a great outcome.
I think the FDA is still years away from catching up to the CBD rage.
What is the difference between seizure prescription drug Epidiolex and CBD you get over the counter?
CBD oil and Epidiolex are both purified forms. However, the products that are sold over the counter may contain many other substances like terpenoids and heavy metal toxins.
While terpenoids are not necessarily a bad thing, it is considered as contamination if we are comparing against Epidiolex.
A reason for more concern is the alarming amount of products on the market that tested positive for heavy metal toxicity.
A recent study choose over 80 random CBD products sold in the U.S. market and discovered that 10% contained poisonous compounds.
These harmful toxins get into the cannabis plant chemical structure as a result of using illegal pesticides or irrigating with polluted water.
These practices are particularly common in places like China and India where a large percentage of the world hemp extract is manufactured.
Aside from the poor CBD quality that is sold over the counter, the compound amounts on the products are uncontrolled.
A recent study by Penn Medicine found that nearly 70% of all cannabidiol products sold online had inaccurate label information. Not knowing the exact CBD dose you are taking can have potentially serious consequences.
It is very difficult to get hold of purified CBD because of this regulatory issue discussed. However, with a quick google search, you can verify the CBD purity.
All responsible CBD sellers will provide a Certificate Of Authenticity (COA) that declares the product purity backed with independent laboratory credentials.
The last difference between Epidiolex and CBD is also related to the lack of regulation in the U.S. market.
There are instances recorded where merchants sold hemp seed oil cloaked as CBD oil. The hemp seed oil contains hardly any cannabidiol which is alarming.
Although CBD is a powerful natural multi-purpose health aid, the CBD market is as lawless as the American Wild West era.
But with basic knowledge, I will teach you how to find quality CBD products.
How to start using CBD?
Before you purchase your first CBD product for a health problem, you might want to first check for drug interactions and CBD purity.
Firstly, It is a good idea to consult your doctor before start taking CBD because cannabidiol is known to interfere with many drugs.
This drug interference affects prescribed medication’s efficiency and can cause harmful side effects.
You may have a prescribed drug that is critical for your day-to-day well-being at a good concentration in your body.
Cannabidiol is known to inhibit metabolism and cause the prescribed medicine to get to a dangerously high level in the bloodstream.
If medicine is strong enough to keep you alive, it is strong enough to kill you.
Here is an effective rule of thumb that can help you identify potential medication interactions.
Avoid taking Cannabidiol with medication that has a Grapefruit warning.
Grapefruit and CBD essentially interact chemically in the same way with over 85 prescribed drugs used to treat symptoms like cholesterol, blood pressure, and anxiety.
Secondly, verify the purity of the CBD source. As consumers, we know the is something called good manufacturing practices, which is mandated in the United States.
Alway by from sellers that source their cannabis crop from countries that have strict regulations like the U.S. and Australia.
Lastly, make sure that the Cananbanol product has a COA (Certificate Of Authenticity) which all responsible seller promotes on their product labels.
This COA is an independent laboratory test certificate that outlines the extract purity and chemical compounds.
Mainly because the hemp industry is unregulated, a considerable amount of products sold on the market has false labeling and can even contain heavy metal toxicity.
The COA (Certificate Of Authenticity) addresses this concern by allowing the laboratory to take legal responsibility and proving an extra layer of consumer security.
As a takeaway, I think that you should do homework before start using CBD products.
You need to find those few responsible companies out on the market that maintains high standards.
Quality products might cost more opposed to buying a random cheap product over the internet that is as useful as snake oil.